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What is mental health?

We all have mental health. It affects how we think, feel and behave, and determines how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices. Our mental health can change over time. Some people call mental health ’emotional health’ or ‘ wellbeing’. In the same way that sometimes we get physically sick with a cold or flu, sometimes we get mentally ill too.

What are mental health problems?

Changes in mental health are very common, for example with the stresses and strains of life. But if these changes don’t go away, and start to affect our everyday life, this can lead to problems with our mental health and can lead to mental illness. Over the course of your life, if you have mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behaviour could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including our genes and life experiences.

What is mental illness?

The term mental illness is used to describe diagnosable mental health problems. This is when you experience problems with your mental health that interfere with your life and meet criteria set out by health professionals.

How common are mental health problems?

Anyone can experience problems with their mental health from mild stress to diagnosable mental health problems, and it is thought that at any one time at least 1 person in 6 is experiencing a mental health condition. Half of all mental health problems are thought to start to before the age of 14.

Mental health problems are common but help is available. People with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely.

YOUnited offers help to children and young people with their emotional wellbeing and mental health registered with a GP in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

It is available to those up to the age of 25 and offers a range of support including therapies, counselling and guided self-help.

Referrals can be made to YOUnited by a GP or any professional working with children or young people.

Referral information can be found on the CPFT website and on the next page of this briefing.

All referrals are triaged and assessed by specialist staff from YOUnited who then work with children and young people, as well as their family or carers if necessary, on the best pathway to support their needs.

The YOUnited referral hub only accepts professional referrals. Young people between 17 and 25 can self-refer to Centre 33.

YOUnited is a partnership involving: Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, Centre 33, and Ormiston Families. Young people have been instrumental in helping co-design the service.

Useful websites:

Kooth – An online mental wellbeing community offering free, safe and anonymous support

Keep Your Head – brings together reliable information on mental health and wellbeing for children, young people and adults across Cambridgeshire & Peterborough

Centre 33 offers a range of support for young people (up to the age of 25) in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Centre 33 can help with all sorts of issues from housing, sexual health and money worries to family problems and bullying, no matter how big or small the problem is.

Chat Health – A confidential text messaging service for young people aged 11-19. Run by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Healthy Child Programme, the service is available Monday to Friday between: 9.30am to 4.00pm. Simply text 07480 635 443 to start a conversation.

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